Monday, July 23, 2012

The Fear of Random

If I take my family to the beach, we put on sunscreen to avoid sunburn, we make sure a lifeguard is on duty, the Hoos and I suit up and go in the water with the girls to make sure that we are never more than a few steps away. Basically, we do everything we can to control the situation and make it safe.

We teach them to be diligent, to avoid strangers, to buckle up, to walk away from uncomfortable situations, to listen to their teachers and policemen and firemen in case of an emergency. But there are some things we can't and don't teach them. There is a difference between being vigilant and living in fear. While they aren't quite ready to go to the movies or the mall by themselves, that time will come. (Too soon, I am sure.) And while I can prepare them for the experience, I can't control it.

Unfortunately, what the movie theater shooting in Colorado reminds us is that not every situation can be controlled. No matter how hard I try, there are some things that you can't predict; there are some (actually many, many) times when I can not guarantee the girls' safety. Because I can't be there all the time. And even if I am there all the time, I can't always keep them safe.

Is this scary? Absolutely.

Is this reality? Absolutely.

Is there anything I can do about it? Not really.

What I can do is tell them that I love them every day before I leave the house. And I do.

What if anything are you changing about your behavior or your parenting in response to tragedies like the Aurora shooting? 

1 comment:

Wenderina said...

I remember the weeks after 911. The number of times I feared crowds that could be targeted. The way I scanned the sky for low flying planes. The dread I felt about boarding a plane. And no matter how many times people gave stats that I was more likely to be killed stepping off a curb, than by some maniac with a bomb or a gun...there remains this fact in your brain. It can happen. Anywhere. Any time. From any source. Madman. Crazy with a cause. Like a lightning bolt. And at some point you just decide. You decide in this I have no control. And you live your life. And you hope. And you trust. And you don't let anyone you love ever doubt that you do love them. That's the only peace you can have.

So let me tell you this now, Ms. Amy. I do love you. You are a great person, a fine friend, a valuable voice in my head. Be safe. You and all of yours.